23rd November 2010
On Sunday the Heaton Park Tramway held its much anticipated Blackpool Transport gala. Featuring Beamish’s Blackpool 31 (which is there for the winter/spring season) and also a visit by Blackpool Transport’s open top Balloon 706 ‘Princess Alice’ as well as the two resident former Blackpool cars, Vanguard 619 and the works tram/rail grinder – the latter being illuminated for the occasion. A selection of relevant buses were provided by the Lancastrian Transport Trust and a shuttle bus service ran to the Museum of Transport at Boyle Street in Manchester.
The Saturday had consisted of a day long photo charter, with Sunday being a public event. Despite the gloomy (typically Mancunian – and having lived there for 24 years I can say that!) weather, the event was busy and a constant service was provided, running to 7pm (providing a chance for nocturnal riding and photographs). Even as the rails became damp and slippery the trams kept running and all in all it was a terrific event and one surely appreciated by the tramway enthusiast.
Below: Two Blackpool open toppers… 706 and 31 pause at the depot and waiting shelter. This is original tramway, not a new system – the only such example in the country.
Below: 31 pauses after reversing at Middleton Road. This was the former entrance for trams turning into the park onto what was essentially a substantial siding.
Below: The Vanguard heads towards the boating lake, Middleton Road being in the distance.
Below: Trams by night – the illuminations working to effect!
Below: A connecting service as a restored SELNEC (South East Lancashire, North East Cheshire – an amalgamation of numerous corporation systems and later to become Greater Manchester Buses) Leyland waits on Middleton Road as the works/illuminated tram reverses at the terminus.